Penny Lemberger of Palmetto Rose Mercantile


People of Yorkville – Penny Lemberger of Palmetto Rose Mercantile

We had such an in depth visit, it would take me forever to write word for word our conversation and all the rabbit trails we took in our time together. So instead, I want to highlight the many, many offerings at Palmetto Rose Mercantile, and then I’ll share a tidbit from our interview.

  1. They offer Brunch every day! Penny at Palmetto Rose6So you’re out running errands, stopping by the courthouse to drop off a motion, coming downtown to pay your taxes – well, stop in for a mid morning treat, coffee, or even a breakfast!
  2. Palmetto Rose has started offering a Dinner on the Go option for busy families. Simply call in one day in advance and order a family size meal. Then pick it up on your way home. Penny at Palmetto Rose5
  3. Their lunches are healthy and delicious! Perfect place for a gourmet sandwich and meet up with a business associate or a friend.
  4. They offer tea parties for ladies’ groups and for birthday parties. She has full settings, and a wonderful room for the perfect gathering!
  5. Saturdays at the Mercantile – Starting March 3rd, Penny is opening her lawn for people to host yard sales, craft booths, etc. It’s free to set up a booth, just make sure to call Penny for details! What a fabulous way to start off a leisurely weekend.

Interview –

Me: Development, so tell me…I thought you were selling off your rentals and now…so what’s going on?

PL: A partner and I, a long, long time friend, we own thirty eight acres along Lincoln Road. I’m a tiny little partner in that. We bought it about ten years ago right before everything fell apart, well now we were thinking about selling it. But then we realized there’s such a housing shortage, we’ve thought about developing it ourselves. Timing is better; the market’s better. We resurrected our plan from ten years ago, and we’ve talked with the city, and we talked with engineers.

Before this (running Palmetto Rose), I renovated houses one at a time, and I really like doing that. But when the market straightened itself out, there were no more fixer uppers left, and this property became available. So I started Palmetto Rose Mercantile, and now I’m selling the building and the business. Everything in here is negotiable. It could also be for lease if someone wanted to run their own cafe. I’m selling/ leasing it so that I can go focus on new projects I want to do.

Me: So if you had someone take over Palmetto Rose, you’d go focus on the Lincoln Road development?

PL: Well, that, and maybe something else as well. … I’d love a rehab, or maybe a lot I can build a small house on.

Me: How long have you been in York?

PL: 1999. I was living in California, and I met my husband out there. He was originally from Wisconsin, but he had lived in Columbia in the 80’s. He was only in California because of his job. So when we decided to move back east, because I grew up in TN and FL, we said he wanted to go near Columbia, but he felt that Charlotte may have better job opportunities.

I flew in, was here for three days, I’d never been here before, and the real estate agent lined up houses for me all over York County. The house I chose was in York, so I chose York because of the house. My husband hadn’t even been here, didn’t see the house until we moved here, we packed up everything and we drove cross country. We figured if we didn’t like it, we’d sell it and just go somewhere else. That was 20 years ago, and he loves living there.

Me: Well, you can’t leave York. At this point you’re a part of the community.

PL: Yeah! Well, we adopted a child, our only child, when we were in California. She was in the Marines, and she and my granddaughter moved back this past summer. Well, my mother was ill, and she ended up caring for my mother. So we went from empty nesters to having four generations under one roof. That was an adjustment! Now my daughter is figuring out what they’d like to do next, and I went from retired to being here a lot of the time. (Lots of life changes and transitions for the whole family!)

We spoke about family and retirement…….

But right now, I don’t want to go anywhere. I want my granddaughter to know she’s got a safe landing wherever she goes. I wouldn’t mind retiring though. I just don’t want to be married to something.

Penny starts talking about design on a renovation project she did on my street.

I miss the renovations because I love the design; figuring out how to re-configure rooms. It was a two bedroom one bath, and it was kind of weird. There were two living rooms and two front doors. So we took out one of the front doors and we turned that room into a bedroom. Then we added a half bath. So then we ended up with a two bedroom with an office and one and a half baths. That was fun! We put on the wall going into the kitchen a pallet wall, an accent wall. And then we put a fancy, bedazzled chandelier in that room, so it was the contrast of the pallet and the fancy.

Me: And you put hardiplank on that house too.

PL: On part of it. We tore off a porch, so when changed the front, we had to put the plank up.

We went on like this for a bit, and it was a lovely afternoon spent. Please go visit Penny at Palmetto Rose:

Palmetto Rose Mercantile/

29 West Liberty Street

York, SC 29745


Tuesday-Friday   10:30am – 6pm
Saturday 10:30am – 5pm

Cagney Larkin of the Sylvia Theater



People of Yorkville’s very own…

Cagney Larkin of the Sylvia Theater

Me: Now are you the owner of the Sylvia?

Cagney Larkin – No, Paul Finnican is the owner, who purchased it in 2003 and revitalized it to such as you see today. I am the house manager, along with my partner Tyler. We run all the daily operations, book all the events, schedule all the films.

Me: Did you grow up here?

CL: I’ve been in York for 26 years now. Born and raised.

Me: Changes in York?

CL: I noticed recently an up and coming downtown, lots of new local businesses sprouting up, all the local businesses supporting each other, a real sense of community. I think we’ve had four new businesses in the last year and some more are coming this year.


Me: How long have you been with the Sylvia?

CL: My partner Tyler was actually playing music on the street last July, and the person that was here at the time offered him a job selling tickets. So Tyler started selling tickets, and brought me in. I’m a film student in Charlotte, and he originally brought me in to film concerts, and from there we ended up taking over running the theater. He was playing in front of the Jasmine Cafe, and he was asked to play at the farmer’s market, and from there he was found.

We continue our conversation about Cagney and Tyler’s vision for the Sylvia…

CL: We are trying to become a central part of York, we’re in a perfect location, we’ve got great restaurants right beside us, Jasmine Cafe has just opened up, there’s lots of businesses within walking distance, and we’re trying to revolutionize it and give people something to do every night of the week.

Me: Do you have a favorite moment?

CL: My favorite moment is honestly every day getting to experience this place as an historic landmark. It’s not everyday you get to work in a place with as much character as this place. It’s been modernized in some ways, but we’ve kept the vintage feel.

He explains that while some may worry historic building are like china shops, the Sylvia is a place you can come and your kids can run around and you can host parties.


Me: What’s the movie schedule?

CL: Thursday through Sunday – two shows on Saturday

Every Wednesday we’re hosting a theater open house. We’re throwing open the doors for free, and each month will have a theme. February’s theme is romance. (I hear through the grapevine Valentine’s Day will be Roxanne, but we’ll call that a rumor….) Each month will feature a different theme or genre and we’ll have the full bar open. (Happy hour, people! Go to the Sylvia!) There is definitely going to be something going on the screen, but no word as to exactly what. Free admission; We want to give people a low pressure way to get out in their community without feeling the need to spend money. What better way than to open our business and offer something for free?

Oh, and we’ll never show anything over PG-13, so we’ll be kid friendly and families are welcome.

Doors open at 7pm, and I’ll start something when people seem ready. And we may eventually implement an open mic night and karaoke to add to the evening.

Me: How about if someone wanted to rent out the facility?

CL: Birthdays – less than fifty people is $200, come in and all watch a film, do your cake and presents. If you have over 50 people, the price goes up in tiers.

Events – $475, and you can sell tickets to offset the cost 


After our interview, Cagney invited me to come back to visit the following evening so that I could experience their upcoming Elvis Impersonator. Umm, yes, sirree I certainly did! Absolutely worth it and so, so much fun! I secretly thought that I might end up the youngest member of the audience, and while Elvis does bring out the more mature ladies of our community, I witnessed people of all ages joining in with the excitement of such an entertaining live performance. And guess what? There were TWO Elvises so that his early works and his later works could be more realistically portrayed. What a show! I certainly will make plans to go back, and I highly recommend you give the Sylvia a visit yourself!